The Head Covering for Women

I Corinthians 11:1-16


Read this entire passage for a text, then ask why this passage is in the Bible.  This text was not written to the Jews, but to the Gentile church located at Corinth.  There is nothing in the Old Testament or the New Testament, except this passage, that speaks of women wearing a head covering. 


The purpose of this message is to explain why I Corinthians 11:1-16 is in the Bible, and why God inspired the Apostle Paul to put these words in his Bible, especially when there are not other passages like this. 


I.        Notice the format of the book of I Corinthians.  Evidently, the church at Corinth wrote Paul, asking him several questions.  Paul answers these questions one at a time. 

A.     The church at Corinth had several questions. 

B.     One of these questions had to do with the pagan feasts and meat offered to idols. 

1.       The Corinthians evidently began to link the pagan feasts with the Lord’s Supper. 

2.       This fact is evident when I Corinthians chapters 8-11 are read as a unit. 

3.       Paul begins this unit of instruction urging the church to forsake the pagan feasts, and end with Paul explaining the proper way to observe the Lord’s Supper. 


II.     The subject of I Corinthians 11:1-16 begins in I Corinthians 8 and continues through the end of I Corinthians 11. 

A.     I Corinthians 8:1 states the purpose: touching things offered to idols, and how all things are to be done in love; nothing is to be done spitefully. 

B.     I Corinthians 10:14 ties I Corinthians 8:1 to the observance of idols. 

1.       This particular thought continues from I Corinthians 10:14 to the end of the chapter. 

2.       At this point, Paul presents the points of I Corinthians 11:1-16. 


III.   At this point in the message, go back to I Corinthians 8 and give exposition of verses 1-13.

A.     Explain there is nothing harmful in eating meat offered to idols, but to the weak, there is. 

1.       Idols are nothing at all, certainly nothing to fear or revere. 

2.       To the person who is weak in the faith, idols are “gods”, and the eating of meat offered to them is sacred. 


IV.  I Corinthians 9 continues the subject of meat offered to idols. 

A.     Paul explains his position as an apostle allows him do everything all the other apostles do, but he does not have a wife, or get paid by the churches. 

B.     Verse 19-27 – Everything he does, he does for the furtherance of the gospel. 


V.     I Corinthians 10 continues this same line of thinking. 

A.     Verse 1-13 speaks the trials and temptations Israel (and us) go through, mainly because of following pagan feasts; and eating meat offered to idols. 

B.     That is why Paul emphatically declares in verse 14 that believers should flee from idolatry. 

1.       Paul continues in verse 15 by declaring he is speaking to wise men. 

2.       Then in verse 16 ties the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper as being distinct from pagan feasts which use meat offered to idols. 

3.       Verse 17-21 compares Israel celebrating pagan feasts with the Corinthians observing pagan feasts: both reap the consequences of their idolatry. 

4.       Verse 22-33 explains the meat offered to idols is not bad, and cannot harm any person who eats it, but if the conscience is defiled because the meat is eaten, that is the harm. 

a.      Paul declares everything believers do should be done for the honor and glory of God. 

b.      Paul concludes this line of thinking in verse 33 by stating that everything he does, he does for the honor and glory of God and for the furtherance of the gospel, not to the offence of any person. 


VI.  It is at this point that Paul presents the argument of the head covering of chapter 11. 

A.     Paul uses an argument all the people understand to teach them not to blur the distinction between the pagan feasts and the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper. 

1.       Today, many have blurred the distinction between the sexes by not observing the head covering and improperly dressing.  

2.       Any person could study how people dressed in the past and clearly understand the modern dress of men, and especially women, is leading to the blurring of the sexes. 

B.     In verse 17, Paul informs the Corinthian church they have not been observing the Lord’s Supper correctly. 

1.       He instructs them in the proper observance of the sacred Supper. 

2.       He reminds them of the people who have died, or are sick because they blurred the distinction between the Lord’s Supper and pagan feasts.